It's terribly early to be throwing devil horn gestures at Coachella, but the Georgia-based quartet Baroness just made a convincing argument for joining the Dark Lord for a late lunch.
The early Friday slot is one of the toughest in the festival, even more so for a band built off fiendish guitar interplay and a relentless drum pummel. But though a good swath of fans are still pounding greyhounds by their hotel pools right now, Baroness pulled a worthy crowd into the Mojave tent for a very eager set heavy on riffage and lean on dirges. The band has a keen ear for the anthemic, and it was duly appreciated at what amounts to a breakfast set for Indio this weekend. "Blue Record" is long on blown-out hooks and a fierce instrumental back-and-forth between its players; Coachella always has an obligatory spot for metal, but they played it with a rock band's ear for concision.
"If any of you see us on the grounds afterwards. I want to meet you!" said singer John Baizley. Along with guitarist Peter Adams, an Iraq war vet who has seen much tougher desert conditions than this, they seemed more pleased to be here than just about anyone. I hope they don't take offense if we call them the nicest band in metal today.
-- August Brown